Anyone who knows me knows I am a frustrated actor. Sadly, due to a serious illness when I was 20, I was forced to drop out in the second year of my drama degree. I took up history and journalism instead - fewer late night rehearsals! - but have never lost my hankering for the stage. I've done my bit over the years in Amdram and, for a few years, ran an educational theatre company; I also write scripts for stage and screen. So it's no surprise then that theatre features so strongly in my 1920s murder mystery series, Poppy Denby Investigates.

Fiona Veitch Smith

Fiona Veitch Smith

Poppy's Aunt Dot is a former West End actress turned Suffragette. Her best friend, Delilah Marconi, is an up-and-coming actress, socialite and jazz-age flapper. The plot of book 2 in the series, The Kill Fee, involves a murder in a dressing room at the Old Vic and some of the luvvies are suspects. The real-life Lilian Baylis, founder of the National Theatre, Opera and Ballet, as well as the iconic Russian director Constantin Stanislavski both make an appearance; and other artists, such as Charlie Chaplin, Nijinsky and Rudolf Valentino have cameo roles elsewhere in the series.

One of the things I enjoy most about this series - apart from the fun of actually writing the books and spending time researching a fabulous period in history - is that I am able to play 'roles' to help promote it.

Here I am in full flapper gear at the recent book signing.

And here I am in a 'day outfit' (which I made from an original 1920s pattern) with a 1922 Remington typewriter just like the one my character Poppy Denby would use.

But most fun of all, here I am playing a dead suffragette on a railway line for a short video trailer I wrote and directed for the first book in the series, The Jazz Files. (please note I'm the dead brunette, not the beautiful blonde playing Poppy - that's the lovely up-and-coming young actor, Amber Irish.)

For more on Fiona and the Poppy Denby Investigates series visit